pertaining to or characterized by pessimism or the tendency to expect only bad outcomes; gloomy; joyless; unhopeful: His pessimistic outlook kept him from applying for jobs for which he was perfectly qualified.

Origin of pessimistic

First recorded in 1865–70; pessimist + -ic
Related formspes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·pes·si·mis·tic, adjectivenon·pes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverbo·ver·pes·si·mis·tic, adjectiveo·ver·pes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverbun·pes·si·mis·tic, adjectiveun·pes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for pessimistic

Synonym study

See cynical. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pessimistic

Contemporary Examples of pessimistic

Historical Examples of pessimistic

  • There was none to speak of left now except in Africa; and they were pessimistic about Africa.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He had the most pessimistic forebodings of what the future might have in store for him.

  • "I knew he was a quitter;" the woman's companion was pessimistic.


    W. A. Fraser

  • My thoughts at that period of suffering were pessimistic in the extreme.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • "We hate each other," retorted the pessimistic Number Twelve.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

Word Origin and History for pessimistic

1866, from pessimist + -ic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper